Mark Tanner
24 May 2022 0 Comments

This week’s news and trends in China:

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

Audi, Ad Agency M&C Saatchi Apologise for Copyright Infringement in Video Campaign with Hong Kong’s Andy Lau: Audi blamed the infringement on a ‘lack of supervision and lax review’ of the M&C Saatchi-led campaign. M&C Saatchi said ‘weak copyright awareness’ by the company’s Audi service team led to the controversy.

With a New Australian Government and Foreign Minister Comes Fresh Hope for Australia-China Relations: An Albanese government in Canberra means an improved trajectory in Australia-China relations is a real possibility. Sure, there will be no “re-set” like we saw in the heady days of 2015. The world has changed; Australia and China certainly have. Albanese says relationship with China to remain ‘a difficult one’. New Foreign Minister Patsy Wong insisted in May last year that the differences between Australia’s interests and China’s interests, do not mean that there’s nothing we can do. Wong has singled out Singapore, not just London and Washington, for insight into Australia’s challenges. Premier Li said China stands ready to work together with Australia to review the past and look to the future and in the principle of mutual respect and win-win benefits.

Reasons to be Optimistic About China’s Recovery: Andy Rothman remains optimistic on China’s economy because the main problems are poor short-term policy choices rather than deeper, structural issues that are harder to correct.

China’s Stay-at-Home Economy is Here: It is boom times for makers of fitness equipment, pre-prepared meals, smart home devices and working from home with new office furniture and video-conferencing equipment. In 2021, the number of fitness content creators on Douyin increased by 39% year-on-year, and the number of sports and fitness videos increased by 134%. In 2015, around 160 million people were engaging in fitness activities, or 11.6% of the population; by 2021 this had increased to 300 million, or 21.5% of the population.

Photographer Luo Yang Captures Rare Glimpse of China’s ‘Brave and Free’ Youth: Neon hair, heavy black lipstick, friends gathered around a table in leopard print and lace. Luo Yang’s portraits of young people offer a rare glimpse into modern culture in China. “They are reclaiming their own narrative … there’s a dose of sexuality and liberation thrown in and it’s wonderful to see,” says Luo. The award-winning photographer has had solo shows in Paris, Berlin, Austria, Hong Kong and Bangkok, and will showcase his photos in Melbourne this month.

China Loyalty Programs Market Intelligence Report 2022: Chinese Consumers are Comfortable Sharing their Data Compared to Consumers in Other Markets: China’s loyalty programs market grew an average of 13.7% a year between 2017-2021 to $15.7 billion. It is expected to grow 13.0% a year over the next four years. To promote a more sustainable lifestyle and attract consumers who are driven by eco-friendly brands, quick-service restaurants are launching green rewards programs that incentivise consumer behaviours.

Online: Digital China

Elon Musk Praises WeChat Model as He Discusses Plans for Twitter: Elon Musk praised WeChat as “really an excellent app” and labelled it “a good model” during the All-In Summit 2022 on Tuesday, as he discussed his stalled takeover of Twitter. “We don’t have anything like that,” said Musk, as he complimented the Tencent super app’s offering of services like Twitter, PayPal and more “all rolled into one.”

Premium Food & Beverage

Iconic South Australian Wine Brand Penfolds to Launch ‘Made in China’ Vintage in Effort to Skirt Chinese Tariffs: The wine will be fermented and bottled in China with grapes from Ningxia and Yunnan. It is hoped the move is “a way to keep Australia’s presence in the market.” China is tipped to become the world’s second-largest wine market by next year, with an estimated 52 million regular wine drinkers, with Australian wine ‘still in demand.’

Baijiu Ice Cream Chain by Kweichow Moutai Receives Chilly Reception: The Chinese liquor giant launched its own ice cream parlour called iMoutai at its flagship store in the Maotai International Hotel, Maotai, in Southwest China’s Guizhou province. Baijiu is a key ingredient in iMoutai’s ice cream, which costs ¥39 ($5.84) per scoop. The brand plans to open more ice cream parlours across China, although it hasn’t been warmly received by everyone.

COVID Can’t Seem to Touch China’s Beer Industry: China’s beer industry seems to be taking COVID in its stride, and producers are investing heavily in high-end products that are increasingly in demand in China. Domestic beer companies reported total profit growth of 38% in 2021, exceeding even the 33% growth rate of the liquor industry as a whole.

Beyond Meat Launches Plant-Based Lunch Boxes Into 2,300 Lawson Stores in China: More than 2,300 Lawson convenience stores in Shanghai and Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces now carry lunch boxes by Beyond Meat. Prices range from ¥14.9 ($2.24) to ¥17.9 ($2.69) for noodles and rice boxes. Plant based chicken brand Haofood also recently announced a partnership with Lawson to sell their all-new satay nugget on a stick as the chain doubles down on meat-alternatives.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Hong Kong Considers ‘Closed Loop’ for Free China Travel, Report Says: Hong Kong plans to propose a closed-loop system to facilitate quarantine-free business travel between the city and mainland China.

Airbnb is Closing its Domestic Business in China, Sources Say: Airbnb formally launched its mainland China business in 2016 and has faced mounting competition from domestic players. Stays in China have accounted for approximately 1% of revenue for the last few years. All mainland Chinese listings — homes and experiences — will be taken down by this summer, but Airbnb will continue to maintain an office in the country to focus on outbound travel.

Premium and Luxury

Gucci, Adidas’s Leaky $1,644 Parasol Faces Backlash in China: Gucci and sportswear firm Adidas are grabbing headlines in China for selling an ¥11,100 umbrella that doesn’t even stop rain. The disclaimer that the parasol doesn’t block rain, but instead should be used as shade from the sun and for fashion purposes doesn’t appear to have done down too well, with a related hashtag attracting more than 140 million views on Weibo.